A/N: The inspiration for this piece is the story of David and Absalom, especially the many musical versions. There are several musical on Youtube. I recommend the one by William Billings, called David's Lament. There's a version called 'When David heard that Absalom was slain' by Thomas Thompkins. The first search result contains pictures of real life conflict zones-some of are very disturbing. Eric Whitman also did a very good version.

This is Silence-Verse, the night of Chapter 21 of Favor Me with Silence. In Chapter 24 of A Time to Speak, when Lucius is hallucinating, this is what he sees.

Lucius Malfoy, clean for the first time in a year, was calmly sipping tea when the Floo turned green and they stepped out, led by a grim faced Snape. Lucius rose at once, his heart beat accelerating in a second. Where was he? Where was Draco?

Bellatrix, laughing, grabbed someone and shoved them forward. It was he. Lucius saw how much the boy had grown, had tall he was now. He was shivering. Bellatrix, still chortling, gave him a push. "Go on, Dwaco, see your daddy. He'll just be so pwoud of his ickle hewo, won't he?"

"Enough, Bellatrix." Lucius would have said more but he found himself nearly pounced by his son, who buried his face in Lucius' chest without a sound. Lucius' arms went around the boy and he gave the others a glare. "Really, do you mind?" They shuffled out, still talking, and Lucius could give his son his full attention.

"All right, shh, shhh. What happened?"

"D-dumbledore!" Draco whispered, trying not to see the old man in his mind, not to watch him die again. And Greyback had slashed the Weasley who was an auror; he could see him fall, blood sheeting down his face and Greyback lapping it from his hands like a dog.

"What about Dumbeldore, Draco? Did he try to stop you?"

"He's dead."

"What?" Lucius rubbed the boy's back and murmured to soothe him, wondering whether Greyback had gone on a rampage. Poor thing, Draco was shaking all over like a scared baby pygmy puff. "Shhhh, hush. Sit, Minky's going to get you something to help you calm down."

He sent the elf for his decanter of fire whiskey and poured a generous dollop into the tea he'd been drinking. "There's the boy, all of it, now." Draco obeyed, gagging, but managed to get it down.

"What's this about Dumbledore, Draco?"

"He's dead. It was like he had no bones. He lolled." Draco voice trembled slightly but he held himself in check. "And Greyback slashed one of the Weasleys pretty badly. He might be dead too."

"Did Greyback kill Dumbledore?"

"No. Snape."

"Snape?"

Draco laughed hollowly. "Was supposed to be me. But I couldn't. Not to him."

"Then who-"

"May I have more whiskey?" Lucius let Minky pour a small glass and Draco sipped it, looking eerily detached, not gagging this time. Lucius wondered if the boy's mind had been damaged. He leant over and took Draco's hand and said, very gently "Who asked you to kill Dumbledore, Draco?"

Draco blinked. "His Lordship. Didn't they tell you?"

"Only that some of us were going to get you from the school, and that you were ready."

"Oh." Draco set the glass down and put his head in his hands. Hermione was safe. He'd done an awful thing, but she was safe, hidden in the room with Tibby to watch her and see that she ate and slept like a good girl. His hand went to the chain about his neck.

Lucius watched as the boy took his hand from his neck and slowly pulled the sleeve of his jacket up. It was on his forearm, starkly black, etched into his flesh, all sharp angles except for the curve of the snake. Draco's face gave nothing away about his thoughts.

"I think you'd best tell me everything, Draco. Start at the beginning." He did.

Lucius felt ill. Physically ill, and his son just kept talking. "The bomb didn't kill him, though."

"It was most clever of you to have thought of it, Draco."

"Thank you."

They went on, recitation after recitation of the dry facts of the thing. "And so Snape did it. Dumbledore…he begged him. For his life, I suppose, or maybe he was scared Greyback…or Aunt…"

"Shush. It's over now, love, and you're safe. You're home, and nothing can harm you here."

The boy shook his head grimly. "Harm can come to us anywhere, Father." Even Hogwarts, he wanted to say, even in the Room, where his mudblood was hiding, knowing something dreadful had happened but not knowing what or how he'd been involved, to whom he'd played Ephialtes.

Lucius felt his eyes sting in response. "Oh, Draco. I would give anything to have gone instead of you." But can't. It hung between them in the air, like a pall of sacred smoke. Draco sipped his whiskey.

"Yes, Father."

"Did his Lordship say why, Draco? Why he chose you?"

Draco's face told the story. "Family debt, Father."

"Ah." Lucius swallowed a bit of his own whiskey. He'd thought virtually anything better than Azkaban, but this was worse, and if his death in the Ministry would have prevented this, he'd have died with the peace of knowing he'd spared his son.

"Are you...is there anything else, love?"

Draco took another sip. "Greyback is angry at me."

"Why?"

"He tried to attack someone, and I threatened him." Lucius raised an eyebrow and waited but nothing was forthcoming. "Someone?"

"Yes, Father." Draco prayed he'd not ask. He couldn't lie, not now. The alcohol was swimming in his veins and he'd not eaten in ages. Lucius simply nodded, eyes closed for a moment.

"Go and see your Mother, Draco. I'll be up to t—to wish you good night." Draco rose and went slowly upstairs to Mother's rooms. He wanted to be back in the Room, cuddling with his mudblood and listening to her breathing.

Lucius poured himself more whiskey.

Draco called Lemmy. "Lemmy, I want you to go and find that stuffed dragon I had as a child. And don't say anything to anyone about it, idiot. Go!"

He spoke briefly to his mother and then went into his room. The dragon was on his pillow. He changed into his nightclothes, climbed under the covers and held the dragon to his chest. The tears finally started, and he curled about Basil, sobbing, too confused and hurt to care if anyone saw.

Lucius came and stopped at the door. He'd give the boy his privacy for this. Turning, he saw Bellatrix grinning insolently at him. "Malfoy."

"Trixie."

"Your son was quite the little hero tonight. Shame about his tastes in entertainment."

"If you aren't going to speak sense, Bellatrix, go and annoy Rodolphus."

"Oh, but his Lordship commanded us to keep it a secret. He wants to surprise you."

"I bow to his superior knowledge, of course."

"Yes. He knows our hearts…and minds…so well."

"Quite. Excuse me, I must ask something of Draco."

"How cute, he's going to tuck his ickle boy in."

Lucius didn't dignify him with an answer. Bellatrix giggled. "Lucius?"

"Yes, Trixie?"

"I'd have him wash his hands before you touch him. Wouldn't want anything dirty on them, would you?"

Draco sniffled and quickly shoved Basil under the covers as his father came in. "Hello, Father."

"Hello, Draco." He'd seen the ball of stuffing and plush that had been Draco's dearest friend and said nothing about it. If Draco needed the safety of feeling small again—and a familiar friend to hug—Lucius wouldn't say anything.

"Lie down, Draco. I'll stay until you're asleep." Draco obeyed, and the whiskey, combined with the influx of adrenaline he'd had to cope with, made sleep easy. "'Leas' she's saf'."

"Hmmm?"

But Draco was asleep, and his father left after tucking him in more tightly and ordering a light be left burning.

And then, in his rooms, wept. "Oh, Draco." He wept, thinking to himself that he would have given anything to have been the one to do it, not Draco. But what's done is done, and so Lucius kept his eyes on the future. And wondered why Bellatrix kept laughing at him, but never suspected the truth.